Sunday, December 28, 2008

To My Precious Friend

To my precious friend,

Where are you going? You seem to often hide.
Do you not see what is clearly right in front of you?
You are loved.

With fear in your eyes you hold tightly to the pain.
I wish that you would give it away.
You are loved.

I’m sorry for what happened.
Scares engraved by painful memories.
Yet I hope you still know; you are loved.

Don’t be ashamed. We all make mistakes.
He didn’t come for those who are perfect.
You are loved.
Stop blaming yourself. The hate sears your heart.
It doesn’t matter what you did.
You are loved.

It wasn’t meant to be this way.
He died to give you new life.
You are loved.

Embrace the truth.
Let it fill your heart.
You are loved.

Ephesians 3:16-19
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sweet Surrender

A painful choice.
A decision to be made.
To surrender what brought her happiness.

It did hurt.
And certainly she hated,
To give up that which she treasured.

One last plead.
A request softly made.
To keep the one she still longed for.

I'll love you just the same.
She cried on that day,
To Him whom she called her Savior.

The lie was born.
A foolish thought,
To believe she could fully love the two.

Her heart contained,
the shattered remains,
Of the desire she then gave away.

Yet strength was found.
And Grace did abound,
To fill a heart beyond measure.

A gift received.
Undeserved to say the least,
Of love from her dear Savior.

Perspective has changed.
And beauty embraced,
Which came from her sweet surrender.

Will memories fade,
of His faithfulness on that day?
Or will she recall
a sweet surrender.

Hopes and Dreams

There are days I anxiously wonder where my life is going. Is this it? I feel as though something is still missing! Not all the puzzle pieces have been placed! I mean life is okay, even good really, but has my life already reached its full potential? My unrealized dreams taunt me and in the darkest places of my heart I begin to question God’s goodness and plan for my life. Does he even have a plan?!

In Matthew 6:34 it says [D]on’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.

Sometimes I wonder how to do that. Does anyone really trust God so much they don’t concern themselves with tomorrow, next week, or next year? It almost seems foolish in a way, to trust that much. But then I remember God’s love for me. That he gave him son to die for me.

1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

So here is the disconnect - I know God loves me enough to send his son to die for me yet I still don’t completely trust him in my day to day life. I’m not quite sure he is putting the puzzle together right and feel as though I need to step in and give him some pointers…at least show Him where the key pieces go! I know it is wrong; I can feel I am somehow being defiant. Like a stubborn child who refuses to let go of a favored toy, I grip tightly to my dreams, frightened that the slightest loosening will cause them to fall and shatter. The broken dream’s jagged edges will tear at my skin and pain will surely follow.

But what if God wants to give me something better? Maybe there is a plan that is far greater than any dream I could have conceived for myself. How will I accept it when my hands are so full? Slowly (and I mean slowly!) I am learning to loosen the grip and keep my hands empty. It stings a little, but as my palms are allowed to experience fresh air, they begin to heal. Now that I’m not concentrating so hard on holding on to my desires, I can clearly see the many amazing things God has already done and is currently doing in my life. I see the beauty and joy in the life and people around me. The amazing life God has already given me. My heart smiles, and at the same time I feel rather foolish. How could I have missed it? By focusing so hard on my plan, I had become blinded to the wonder and amazement around me. Now I feel a freedom. A freedom only someone who is fully known and loved can accept and appreciate. A freedom to love in return and live life to the fullest today, to not worry about tomorrow. If only it hadn’t taken me so long to see.

Instead of holding so tightly to my hopes and dreams, I can welcome whatever God has set before me. Instead of mourning a life that has yet to come, I can appreciate the joy of today and delight in the love of my Savior.

Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

1 Corinthians 2:9
“No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Philippians 4:5-7
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

By ceasing for a moment to consider my own wants I have begun to learn better what I really wanted. ~C.S. Lewis

Monday, December 22, 2008

How to Love

I have a confession. I’m not sure this is even okay to admit, but I have come to a daunting understanding that I have an inability to love. I should say that it is not by some sort of lack of effort on my part. I try to care about people more than myself, no seriously I do. However I’m being completely honest when I say I cannot do it and not only that I just don’t get it. I mean I get love in the way that it means you care for someone and you are patient and kind to them. That has always seemed pretty basic. What I don’t get is how to truly love someone? At what point does caring then equal love or does it? What does that even mean to say “I love you”? Does it mean I think about them continually? Does it mean I do things for them? Does it mean I call and write them a certain amount that might be more than I would call or write someone I do not in fact necessarily love? Are some of us doomed to over think life so much we put a rule and format on even the most basic of concepts??

So how do I figure out what love is? Well the bible says that God is love. (1 John 4)
Okay…so what does that even mean? What has God done that shows us yes, I get it, you are love.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

So if God is love then I guess to love we do what he did. But he gave his son to die for us. Well, I don’t even have kids so that’s out. Obviously though loving will involve some sort of sacrifice and not necessarily something I would really want to do or would come naturally. But who can love sacrificially and still find joy in it? At times my mind has doubted such a genuine love could exists even though I somehow never questioned that Jesus died on the cross – the ultimate sacrifice— I just doubted he found any joy in it. I felt like if somehow I could prove without a doubt that God wanted to send his son to die on the cross then that proves everything I hoped about the world is true. Unconditional love - a love without any reason to it -does truly exist. Maybe that is where faith comes in. Faith that when the Bible says God is love it means just that. Faith that for some crazy reason God really does love us and just because my mind can’t completely figure out God doesn’t make His truths less real or certain.

The point still remains though that I can’t love. Not the way God does at least. So what is the remedy for this malfunctioning heart?

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.

Ezekiel 11:19-20
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”

Maybe the answer is I need a new heart, one molded to love like God, since all my efforts to fix this one have been in vain. Die to myself and trust God to heal me. Then maybe I will know how to love.

1 John 3:16
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Have you ever thought about what it takes to be a truly beautiful person? I’m sure all of us have our own definitions of this, but I would like the simplicity in knowing exactly what I must do to achieve my desire. Maybe it’s the perfectionist in me but this longing to be thought of as beautiful has always been a burden on my heart. I have literally worked out for hours on end trying to achieve this goal. I used to spend way too much money on tanning and getting my hair done. I have bought all the clothes and accessories that I knew would complete the package. In my heart I became jealous of those who I thought God blessed more than me and did my best to make up the difference. I deeply desired the love and acceptance that I knew would soon follow so thoughts of me and my physical appearance consumed my mind.

But that led me to wonder what exactly beauty is? Where did it come from and why is it here? If God made us all how can some be considered less appealing than others? Surely he wouldn’t create someone he thought of as ugly…that makes no sense.

I would hope the obvious answer is that beauty cannot be found in physical appearance and that one is not naturally blessed more than another thus creating a dividing tension for what cannot be controlled.

So what does the one who created our appearance say that beauty is??

1 Samuel 16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance (David's brother Eliab) or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

Proverbs 31:30
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

1 Peter 3:3-4
Your adornment must not be merely external--braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

It would seem that God cares more about our hearts. This is great except for the fact that in our day to day interactions with the world others do not necessarily follow this creed. Then I have to ask myself: Who am I trying to impress? And more importantly why?? Exactly whose love and acceptance do I crave? Do I really want the attention of someone who loves me because I am tan, skinny, or have nice clothes? What would then happen if my body changes or winter comes and my skin is once again pale. Will this same person stop caring about me?! How superficial and sad. Even sadder is the realization that it never crosses my mind to stop thinking of myself for one second and love someone else. Possibly give some of the money I spend on myself to a greater cause. Call someone who needs a friend. Do something for someone else! Love God and ask what he wants of my life so that when all is said and done it could be said, “Wow, what a giving and beautiful life she lived.” I want to live a life that God considers beautiful since He is the one who loved me first and the only one who can save me from this world and from myself. He loved me even in midst of the ugliness of my heart and now I hope to be able to say that my pursuit of beauty is found in loving God and others.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


In Genesis it says that God created man in his own image. We are all so different though so I wonder if this more a general statement about humanity or can we apply it to specifics even to the point of our personalities? Like maybe everyone we meet has a little piece of God in them and the more people we meet the more possible joy we can experience because we get to experience that piece of God that we would have never known before otherwise.

What about that person who notices all the obscure things about life and makes everyone laugh and have fun. Do you think God does that? That he is making the angels laugh in heaven? I hope so. I like that thought. Or what about that kind person you know that never has anything negative to say. A little easier to believe I guess that God is like that. Or what about the person in your life who is so carefree and enjoys every moment of life. Or the serious intellect who understands more about life than most ever will. Maybe God contains the sum of all the good we see in others and if we really look for the good in others we get to see God.

Of course there are going to be things in others that drive us nuts but today in my interactions with the world I am going to try and look past that. I will try to see the amazing things that God wants me to see in that person and if it means I can draw closer to Him in the process then all the more exciting. Well, just a thought anyways, but it makes me excited about knowing the friends I already have more and excited/curious about the ones I have yet to make!

Genesis 1:27
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female created them.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Who Am I?

They say that part of growing up is being comfortable with oneself. The trouble being that one must be aware of who exactly that person is. At least that is the hard part for me I should say. I’ve managed to acquire a lot of labels in my life, some positive and some not so much. Whether positive or negative though they were still definitions other people placed on me. Due to insecurity of my part, I’ve held tightly to these labels and what other people thought in hopes of finding acceptance.

In high school everyone knew me as the “good girl” and a “runner.” Not bad labels for sure, but is that really my identity? After repeated injuries and my weariness for the sport, track fell from the focal point of my life and I decided to not run in college (it would have been a small school anyways.) Suddenly I was lost. I had spent anywhere from 2 to 4 hours a day working out either at track practice before school or cross training club at night so its absence from my life was deeply felt.

After starting college I needed to fill the whole that track had left behind. Since being “the nice girl” had little to no appeal, I soon acquired the label “party girl” and believe me did I work hard to earn it. I was definitely the girl everyone had to “take care of” at the end of the night as it soon became a pretty much guarantee that I would be in trouble. I should count my blessings that I still have friends from those days. Needless to say I rarely do things halfway regardless of the importance and usefulness of my pursuit. Those who only knew me in high school would probably crack up laughing at the thought of my new label. It was that night and day.

I found many friends through this identity though and received much attention from boys so I had little desire to remove it. At the same time, the guilt of my actions caused me to hate who I had become but out of fear I kept the pretense; the belief that this life brought me happiness.

Now that I’m officially an adult, or so it would seem anyways, I find myself at this odd place of trying to act responsibly and living a life that brings me fulfillment. At times I haven’t felt like these two ideals can peacefully co-exist. How can I enjoy life if I have to force myself to be so serious and mature all the time?

My newest addition to the list of labels has been “a good Christian girl.” I almost feel that this one has caused me the most grief out of them all and my heart has grown weary. Instead of being who I am, I’ve tried to conform to what I envisioned a “good” Christian to be. I stopped going to clubs, dancing, and attending parties that I felt did not fit this ideal. I wanted to make myself a good person. Of course the whole circle in square peg thing never works and my main accomplishment has been to make myself miserable.

On a surface level, I know that my identity is in Christ so why do I care so much what other people think? What will it take for me to really believe and trust this? To have the courage to throw off the labels that have been wearing me out and rest in Jesus knowing that by His grace I am a child of God. To know that it doesn’t matter how other people define me. The truth is I’m not a “party girl” nor am I “a good girl.”

And so the question remains: who am I? Through bible study and the precious friends God has placed in my life, I've now learned that I am a child of God who is forgiven and loved. Nothing more is needed and thankfully, whether good or bad, nothing I do will ever change that. Amazing right?! That somehow the creator of the universe would choose to love us. And so I don't have to prove my worthiness to anyone! The only thing that changes is the choice I make to cling to this truth or not.

Romans 8:1-2
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!